Understanding political trust: evidence from survey experiments

Stream: Panel 39 - Comparative Politics: Political Trust and Experiments in Political Science
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm


For decades social scientists have debated the connection between the quality of political institutions and political and social trust, a debate ignited in large part by Putnam¹s (1995a; 1995b) influential work on social capital. In this article, we present experimental evidence of a causal link between the perceptions citizens have of government officials¹ behavior, and the trust they have in government (political trust) and others in society (social trust ­ a widely used proxy for social capital). The results suggest the behaviour of government officials plays a distinct role in shaping attitudes towards peers and the formation of social capital.


Aaron Martin (Presenter), University of Melbourne
Aaron Martin was educated at the ANU, the Institute of Political Studies (Paris), Stanford University and the University of Melbourne. He returned to Melbourne University as Lecturer in Political Science Research Methods in 2010. Aaron’s research focuses on young people and politics, public opinion and policy and citizens' agendas. He is the author of Young People and Politics: Political Engagement in the Anglo-American Democracies (Routledge). He is currently wording on an ARC-funded project, ‘Policy Agendas in the Australian Commonwealth' with Keith Dowding (ANU).

Nick Faulkner, Monash

Raymond Orr, University of Melbourne

Kyle Peyton, Yale University